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Archive for March, 2009

Finding A Balance

March 31, 2009 By: admin Category: General, Living, Love

I thought I lost my shit when my mom died, but turns out it’s always been a bit gone…

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First off, let me say that this post has nothing to do with the aggressively sappy 80s music peeling from the house next door where the Salvadoran boys are finishing up construction. Figures, eh? For six months they’ve been listening to nothing but fusion ranchero music, but on the day when my life is taking a massive emotional shift, it’s Cold Play, Phil Collins, and Maria Carey. I swear to God, if Celine Dion or Shania Twain come on I’m going over there and asking them to change the station…

So, here’s the story… relationship troubles. The details go back two girlfriends, though, and that’s what this post is about. Both Zan and Erika (even for how short a time she and I were together) tried long and hard to communicate to me that I demanded too much from them. I asked for things they simply weren’t ready to give at the time, and I wouldn’t hear of an alternative. If I had been able to, I might still be with either one of them. But that’s okay, as Molly is the only one I want from here on out. :)

What I’ve noticed, upon looking backward, is that, in a relationship, I see the world as being centered on my partner rather than on itself. I see everything as being in context to my partner and therefore constantly maneuver to try to accommodate their lives the way I see them. This is the key point, I think: the way I see them. In a relationship, I always have a too-solid perception of my partner. At first that perception feels fine, everything is new and so it’s easy to roll with whatever is going on for them. Eventually, though, my own needs always emerge.  How could they not, I’m human. The trouble comes when, inevitably, my needs conflict with my partner’s needs–as is the natural course, minute-to-minute, in any relationship, even that of friends. When this conflict of emotional needs arises I usually get angry and annoyed because–due to my skewed/too-narrow perception borne of the idea that the axis of all life is in them–I feel it’s my partner’s turn to accommodate me the way I have been accommodating them. While on paper it sounds like that might make sense, people aren’t one description of ourselves, we’re skin-enclosed masses of ever-changing emotional biology that need near constant fairness, understanding, love and respect as much as plants need water and earth.

In other words I need to find the axis, the emotional balance, within myself when working on my love relationship, the way I’ve found it in a particular job when working at my career. I know this won’t be easy, but I do have about as many tools as anyone should need, as well as a shit-ton of great family and friends to help me through the gritty bits.

When I left NYC it came on the heels of  having lost my job at Oxygen, lost my current relationship, and having survived 9/11. In other words, I was dealing with a lot. Now things are very different and I find myself in a good place to be dealing with all this emotional stuff. My one, great goal would be to go to Peru and see what I could find of the past I have never known face-to-face. I think I’m finally ready to do that, finally have the perspective to really see on such a trip.

So, next steps? Introspection. As I’ve done a fair amount of this throughout my life, I’m not too worried. I know where to start and how to follow the sign posts. It’s just the not-knowing whether or not I’ll be alone at the end of the journey that’s got me scared. Think of me from time to time, y’all — I’ll need and will greatly appreciate your good vibes. :)

Diary of a News Cycle

March 23, 2009 By: admin Category: General, News, Obama, Politics

It’s times like these that make me angry at my siblings in the media… The attempted crucifixion of treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, is what we in programming call “filler.” Nobody really feels Secretary Geithner has done anything terribly wrong. The republicans just want a reason to stand at the podium, and the “news media” wants something to report because Darfur, Burma, global poverty, water shortages, and soldiers suffering dramatically from PTSD isn’t sexy. In fact, it’s gross. We’d prefer to hang a politician, and, of course, not really hang cuz that’d be gross, and Americans don’t want to see anything gross unless it’s packaged and served up as fiction.

There was a series on Salon.com in mid-February, called “Coming Home.” “Coming Home” is gross. It’s a bunch of graphic stories about the neglect our soldiers returning from Iraq are suffering from. Some are being killed by Army doctors through seemingly deliberate drug overdoses, more are killing themselves. PTSD is slowly flaying a section of a tender generation and no one other than Salon, it seems, is writing about it. And we want to lynch Tim Geithner for something we’re not even sure he did?

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that he and the President really did miss a line item when reviewing the AIG relief package. What’s to be done about that, really? Well, a) determine whether it’s true. How, in fact, were those AIG bonuses allowed to be paid? b) If a line-item was missed, how should we proceed knowing that? The answer is that, with exception of actually offering a name–like Geithner’s or the President’s–for execution, the administration is already doing everything it can within the confines of the law. This was a simple, if awful, mistake, and the administration has already said that if a solution can’t be found right now, then the bonus funds will be deducted from AIG’s bailout cash for next year. Problem solved.

How do tax-payers deal in the meantime? Well, THAT’s the discussion worth having. If I were this administration I would immediately divert some cash from the TARP to anyone who makes less than $100k and was directly affected by the mistake. For example, would that TARP money have gone to Head Start programs and now it’s not gonna cuz the AIG assholes are going to charter a ship to the Caribbean? Is there a school lunch program that’s going to suffer? Families on welfare who won’t get checks? This is the conversation worth having, not some annoying time-waster of a “broadcast” designed only to peak the morbid curiosity of a privileged society who would actually look at the gory Iraq pictures taken by returning damaged soldiers if you put’em in a movie starring Brad Pitt!

Fuck… the moral? Timothy Geithner isn’t to blame, we are. It sounds cliche, but think about it–Suze Orman has a career because most Americans (and I’m including my debt-layden self here, fyi…) are stupid. We can’t count, and we’re married to our luxuries. Part of the reason I’m taking the time to write this morning is because my Direct TV account just ended and I don’t have The Box to numb out on while I have my morning coffee. I have a lot to do and the TV allows me to avoid it for a while. But if you live in a place where there’s a water shortage you can’t afford to avoid getting up early to make the 7-mile walk to the closest public well. Your kids will die if you don’t. Do you still want to fire Tim Geithner? Will that make you feel better?

The President is doing an incredible job. He juggles the enormous tasks at hand while appeasing the media at the same time. The media doesn’t even know it’s played, they just know that they “booked the President.” Why else would a sitting President go on a late-night talk show?

We need to get off Geithner. Now.

Exporting Video

March 20, 2009 By: admin Category: "Nice Boy", Music, Video

Exporting Video is like watching paint dry. Or waiting for a prom date to “get the courage.” Either way, this was inspired by a Facebook status post of mine where I wrote “If any of you musician types could write me a punk song about exporting video, I’d be grateful.” This is my pal, Mary Bichner, of Box 5, doing just that:

http://www.boxfive.org/misc/Exporting_Video.mp3

Enjoy!

There’s No One As Irish As Barack O’Bama

March 17, 2009 By: admin Category: General, Politics, Video

Okay, this is just a guilty pleasure, but I just had to show this to you all. :) Only watch the first minute–until you hear the first chorus–cuz the song is too long and not as funny as that first moment.

 

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

“Wimsey Matters”

March 13, 2009 By: admin Category: Boston Beats, General, TED

“Pamela Anderson has more prosthetic in her body than I do – no one calls her disabled.” –Aimee Mullins, double amputee runner

We have so many stock concepts and rules as a society. It’s exhausting. So when we have the opportunity to stretch our thinking a bit, broaden our vision, re-imagine our perceptions, it’s amazing and life-changing.

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I first heard of runner Aimee Mullins while I was a producer at Oxygen Media in NYC. My friend and genius producer, Staci, had created a biography show about women athletes called “Sports Aside…” In the opening title graphic she used a now famous photo of Aimee, lying on her back, “cheetah” legs in the air, a huge smile on her face. In this small, tiny way Staci knew then what I am only coming to understand now: there are no stereotypes except those clung to by the unmotivated. Thinking outside the box takes effort and balls, and so I thank god I have examples like Staci & Aimee and all the incredible new people I’m meeting right here in tiny Boston to teach me, as Aimee says in the talk below, that “It is our humanity that makes us beautiful.

Becreative

March 06, 2009 By: admin Category: Photoshop, Randomosity

This is how I’m going to survive the “economic downturn”:

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I’m going to fuck around in Photoshop. :) This is a fictious band, “Instrument Flight Rules,” and our first album “this book will get you started.” It’ll be available on iTunes….um… never.

The Rainmakers & The Things That Stay

March 04, 2009 By: admin Category: General, Happiness, Health, India, Living, Web 2.0

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My friends Alison and Bryan have been in India for ten years. They run a computer school in Kolkata for low-income, low-caste, and otherwise underprivileged folks. If you’ve never been to Kolkata, there’s no description of it’s overall awfulness that will translate, so you can imagine that choosing to live there to try and improve things for a few people is a struggle.

When I read this article about the closure of the venerable newspaper, The Rocky Mountain News–the paper my aunt wrote for for years–I thought about the things in our “socially-networked” culture of immediacy that will still be here when the fads die. What are the systems, events, and consumables, for lack of a better term, that will survive the already-fading “flavor of the month” online gimmicks? Twitter? Facebook? Flickr? Online sharing of photos of some kidn will always be around, I think. It’s very functional, and Twitter can be used for social justice much more than it is currently, but Facebook, I think, is lagging.

I don’t have any numbers for you, but I can see it happening within my own, small circle. When I first signed up with Facebook (2-3 months ago?) there was a flurry of activity. Everyone I knew, it seemed, was “facebooking” every minute of their lives and reconnecting with friends long lost. That was fun, but it’s not happening anymore. Am I just not looking for anyone any more, or have other stopped looking for me?

Facebook inspired jealousy at first because I didn’t have as many “friends” as others did, then I didn’t have as much to say, minute-to-minute, as others did, and I clearly wasn’t going out and being as interesting as, really, ANYONE else that I knew. Then, it was weird, almost on a dime, things changed…

When I got a little busy I suddenly no longer thought about contemplating my navel. I checked the site less and less, removed “friends” I never really knew or liked, turned off all email notifications, and stopped updating my “current status.” Moreover, I saw lots and lots and lots of others doing exactly the same thing. It didn’t have an impact on me, though, until this morning… but let me not skip ahead because things really changed for me a couple of weeks ago…

I have a few favorite TV shows that I watch regularly. The thing is, I don’t watch them on television, and I don’t watch them regularly. I realized this a couple of weeks ago. I watch “Fringe,” “Dollhouse,” “Heroes,” and “Top Chef” online whenever I want to. This got me thinking… If I, who am the greatest slave of TV that I know (GOOD TV, mind you… not just “anything”), can’t stand to wait through 5 minutes of commercials, and can’t seem to arrange my schedule to be sitting on the couch at the same time every week, then… who can (full disclosure, I don’t have TiVo)? Makes me think of all those folks who’ve been touting “On Demand” for years before anyone else understood the allure…

Anyway, after reading the article about the Rocky Mountain News (RMN)–about seasoned reporters being forced to learn to use Twitter and Flickr and Facebook and drag their laptops and cell phones around with them so they could “blog” at the moment a story was happening–I realized that what was missing from my life, and possibly everyone else’s was time, quality, and the satisfaction that comes from finishing a long article (or a good book, taking a walk, or sitting on the beach). For too long the message about how to succeed in business and storytelling has been “go fast, get there first” even though that isn’t what sells. A good story does.

Now, what the current spastic culture does have going for it is the ability–like my TV habit–to consume things at our own pace. Yes, there’s a lot to choose from, but we’re all smart, we can decide which outlets we want to frequent. So, then, if that’s the case, what does it mean for storytellers? “Get cheaper,” for sure. Go online, yes. But make the experience worth it for the consumer. I give you Salon.com, Hulu.com, and just about any online talk radio station. Online is the vehicle, but story and depth are the cornerstones. After all this “2.0” insanity, content, it seems, is still king. :)

So, what does that have to do with Alison & Bryan? They’re the role models. They stuck it out and continue to do so. They don’t rush around looking for the next fast buck (although if you’d like to donate to their school, they’d be grateful), and they’re certainly not in it for the glory or promise of an award for their efforts. The best rewards for them are placing graduates of their school into jobs. Sounds like a good story, doesn’t it? 😉

The point I’m trying to make is that what’s important isn’t profit, it’s change. Progress. A better world. ALL we humans are here to do is create a more fulfilling experience for those that come after us. Really. And changes only come about through time and diligence. And if you’re in the storytelling arts, as I said above, the new currency is the old one: a good story told well.

None of this, by the way, has anything to do with constant suffering. We should be happy and fulfilled ourselves as we remake the world. Artists performing songs, painters painting, rock climbers climbing adds joy to the air, and we all benefit from that.

So, take the time, y’all. Don’t worry about who’s missing you on Twitter because you haven’t updated your feelings about a sandwich. Twitter has it’s uses, but none of them are about gaining personal glory. Twitter can actually make change. You give a bunch of cell phones to poor students in Kolkata and ask them to short-blog their daily lives, I guarantee you that things will change. The new tools give us greater access to one another so that more, and better change can be made a little bit faster. That’s all.